TNA! TNA! TNA! TNA!
And now, the stunning conclusion...
YOU BOTH SUCK! YOU BOTH SUCK! YOU BOTH SUCK!
I take back everything I said about TNA having a chance at impressing me. I should rephrase that. TNA did in fact impress me. It impressed me by the complete and utter stupidity that I witnessed.
This should have been TNA proving to the world that it can not only do live shows outside of PPV, but that it can do them well. And with the abysmal episode of Monday Night RAW this week, it was the perfect opening to strike. What did happen, however, was a thrown together, two hour pile of broken promises and complete idiocy.
TNA, if only you knew how much excitement I had to "Cross The Line" once again. For the first time in many, many months, I was looking forward to TNA. Before a few days ago, I was only going to watch to see all their best laid plans go up in flames.
How could I expect anything less after the last live show that featured botched production, terrible booking, and the epitome of the term "dick move" in which the camera focused on then still-employed WWE wrestler Highlander Robbie for an agonizingly long full minute, even though he was clearly ashamed to be where he was.
It wasn’t until around Wednesday that I actually started to feel genuine excitement for what I was about to see. I was actually hoping it would be a good show, something that would bring me back to watching Total Nonstop Action on a regular basis. I actually half expected them to finally outperform WWE.
They did not. Let’s go to the rundown.
-The show starts with a new intro. It is some of the most terrible music I’ve heard since this side of the Piledriver album. TNA just can’t seem to get good bands to play theme music for them.
After the intro I was ready to see the arena for Impact, hoping it would be a PPV like stage and a big production. Instead, it looks like they just rented out Conference Hall B and stuck a ring inside it. The whole thing looked like the school gym the local Ohio Pro Wrestling tapes their shows out of, only with more guitars on the walls.
-The first “match” is ready to start. I put “match” in quotes because nothing about this fit the description of wrestling. Christy Hemme vs. Velvet Sky. This is sure to be a barn burner. After three minutes of the worst match flow I’ve seen in a while, it’s over, and Christy wins. Why? Why not? They have to fill two hours somehow.
-Now we’re in an area TNA knows backwards and…backwards, Backstage. Jeremy is talking to Kurt, who looks like a Bond villain in his three-piece and leather chair. He’s talking about Mick Foley and Jeff Jarrett’s big announcement that will shake the foundation of TNA.
Well, Kurt’s got a better one according to him. Jeremy asks what Booker T will think of all this, and in a camera move I REALLY hope was meant to be funny, the camera pans to the left and we see the Booker Man in all his…African glory?
When did Booker T become Eddie Murphy from Coming to America? Anyway the conversation switches to Booker’s mysterious briefcase. People have been wondering what was inside for a while. My guess is Ashley Massaro. She’s thin enough to get inside there, as long as you pop out her implants first. And, in more comedy gold, we pan out farther to see Big Kev also in the room. What, is Sting going to show up next?
Have you ever been talking to someone, and you’ll make a joke prediction about something happening around you? And when what you say becomes true, you turn to each other and one or the both of you say “And you were joking!”
And I was joking…
So, in fact Sting DOES enter the picture, and tells Bore-ash that the four in the room all have teamed up to form a new super stable. Predictable, yes, but what you could have never predicted was the name they picked…
Main Event Mafia.
Hey, it’s miles better than Voodoo Kin…
-Next up, Daivari vs. Jay Lethal. I’m NOT calling him Sheik Abdul Bashir, as that’s the dumbest name since Braden Walker. Now, Jay just fought through the brutal Steel Terror Asylum Dome of Red Steel DOOM to get to this match, so you know he’s got the fire in his eyes. Jay is going to give the champ a match for the ages!
Four Minutes Later…
One, two, three, squashed. Daivari is still champ. Moving on.
No, not moving on, because as we come back from the break, Run-In Rhino has the Sheik up against the wall, saying that he’s tired of political bias, and that he’s in America and should act like it…
Wait, what? He said Daivari shouldn't put his country over anyone else's and that America is TEH GR8EST EVAR! I’m all for hometown pride but you have to be blind to not see the hypocrisy there. So the Not-Iron Sheik attacks Rhino in one of the worst backstage beat downs I’ve seen in quote some time. Rhino for X-”Division” Champion!
-Now, really moving on, we get another backstage segment. I didn’t pay attention to what AJ and Joe had to say, but it wasn’t that important. In another segment, Mick Foley has arrived at the “arena,” and he’s lookin’ good in his teal original VW Beetle. As I’m writing this I see the subtle image that TNA is trying to implant into our heads, you’ll know what I’m talking about later.
-Back to the ring. Wrestling? No. It’s time for Africa T to reveal the contents of his case! JOY! In true TNA fashion, the person supposed to be one of the companies top heels is getting his name chanted by the drunk smark audience. TNA, making no attempt to cover this up, zooms in on just a few of the fans joining in.
He reveals a new title belt. Anyone that’s read a wrestling newsletter in the last month knows that this is the Legend’s Championship. Well, of course Booker T is the first to have it! He’s clearly the one and only legend of wrestling in the world! Come to think of it, I don’t remember him being in the game Legends of Wrestling.
The belt looks decent, and that’s really all I can say. It’ll just be the FTW World Title with more diamonds. Wrestlers need to stop making belts for themselves, some don’t know what they’re doing (read: spinner).
Now, who will do the obvious and expected by challenging Booker? Why none other than Christian “Why-Haven‘t-You-Gone-Back-To-Vince-Yet” Cage! So, at Turning Point it’s Christian vs. African (of course not tonight, why have wrestling?). And TNA, if people are cheering for the face, AND the heel, that’s not because you’re doing good, it’s because you let too many attitude era fans in.
-Here we go. It’s the most confusing match in TNA history, and it’s called…..It’s called…while, I don’t know, as TNA themselves couldn’t seem to stick with a name. Over the course of the show and the promos before hand, the match was called:
-Hard Rock Hardcore Tag Team Text-Off Gauntlet
-Hardcore Text Gauntlet
-Tag Team Text-Off
-Hardcore, Hardcore, Bananafana-fo-Fardcore Sexy Text-Off
Okay, okay, I’m joking about the second one.
So, let me see if I can boil the rules into something cohesive. I might act like a Star Trek robot screaming “ERROR, ERROR!!” until I pass out but, eh, all in the name of journalism.
This is all they told us about the match before hand.
1. Before the match, fans would vote on who they like the most. The person with the least amount of votes will come out first, and the every minute a new person will come out, the most popular one going into the match last.
Simple enough right? Sure, that trademark TNA trend of overcomplicated gimmick matches is all over this match, but it’s not the weirdest thing they’ve done by any means. So, lets enjoy the match.
First one out, and therefore LEAST popular, James Storm…wait. James Storm is the least popular? I’ve seen forums that think he’s a future Main Eventer, a good gimmick and good worker who was the better half of America’s Most Wanted. And considering most of TNA’s audience is smark, I find this hard to believe.
Well, whatever, Val Venis has won a poll on who should be WWE Champion, so it must have been a fluke. Next out is Brother Ray, now that’s more like it. I could not care less about him or D-Von, so that makes sense to me.
What doesn’t make sense, is what I saw at the bottom of the screen…
TEXT YOUR CHOICE NOW!
The ever vigilant Mike Tenay and Don “OHMYGODMIIIIIIIKE!” West notice it too. It takes them a minute, but they finally explain that the weapon voted on the most times will be the legal weapon.
The HARDCORE GAUNTLET has ONE LEGAL WEAPON…
Okay, whatever, it’s not like it would have been better with a whole mess of weaponry anyway.
So, as the match continues, we find out that more rules are in this match. Okay, Mr. Tenay, lay some confusion on me!
2. The match is an over the top rope battle royal.
3. When only members of two teams remain, the match is restarted as a normal tag team contest.
4. When the tag contest begins, the weapon that is legal will be revealed.
5. After 60 seconds, the weapon will officially be made legal.
They’re was a penalty box and something on a pole in there too, I’m sure of it.
So, continuing on the match, who’s the 3rd least popular star in the match? Robert Roode. Now again, this I understand. Roode doesn’t entertain me, at all. He didn’t when he feuded with Eric Young, he’s not now, and he DAMN sure didn’t as part of the airtime hog that was Team Canada.
Again, we fast forward a minute and find out that D-Von is next in the ring. Now it’s getting a bit too convenient. I mean now there’s two tag teams in the ring, and a perfect pattern of entry. Well, TNA wouldn’t cheap people out of their money and rig the lineup, right?
Next two out, Hernandes and Homicide.
**** you, TNA.
Now I know this is rigged. There is no way that Matt Morgan and Abyss are so over that people would pad their cell phone bill with texts to TNA begging them to be in the final two parts of the match.
Matt Morgan is second to last, and he clears the ring. What was seven people is now down to three. Not even Kane could match that battle royal skill.
Finally, Abyss. Matt Morgan, the meat head that he is, wastes his time telling Abyss to GTFO instead of getting in a win. That’s not showing us that Matt doesn’t like Abyss, that’s showing how stupid the booking team of TNA is.
So, Matt gets eliminated as quickly as he came in, and Abyss has yet to enter the ring as he’s busy outside fighting the other ousted men. Team 3D stands alone in the ring, and the legal weapon that was a complete secret until now is revealed. Tables. Bubba and D-Von share the most choreographed looks of shock I’ve ever seen.
Seriously. **** you, TNA.
So, they get the table out from under the ring. No shock that it’s THE ONLY THING UNDER THERE. And oh look, D-Von just happened to bring lighter fluid or the table, how nice. So he gets the table all juiced up, and the crowd is ready for an encore of Bound For Glory’s bonfire.
Well, Abyss has different plans, and knocks them both down. An interesting botch takes place about that time, when Bubba actually turns his head almost completely around to make sure Abyss is hitting hit marks. So, Abyss gets the lighter.
Now, if you haven’t been following TNA lately, Abyss is reformed from his former emo blood bender, and therefore is against violence. Oh, sorry, FURTHER violence. The story here is that while Abyss will still unmercifully destroy you, he refuses to even touch a chair for fear he may hurt someone. That’s not restraint, that’s pussing out.
Back to the match, and I swear to Ric Flair if he drops it and leave, I’m turning off the TV. He doesn’t get a chance to do anything, as 3D gets the jump on him. Abyss is finally eliminated.
So, it’s time to start Part Two of this epic(ly stupid) match. It’s down to Beer Money Inc. and Team 3D. The fans are literally throwing their matches and lighters into the ring, they want fire, they NEED fire, and TNA always caves into what the live fans want. Nope, no fire, just a normal 3D on a fluid soaked table.
The crowd could not be less happy. So Bubba gets the pin on James, and the ref counts three. So the match is over, right? No, for some unexplained reason, the pin doesn’t count. I don’t know if I wasn’t paying attention or if there was another rule tacked on, but last time I checked in pro wrestling a three count meant the match was over. It’s not like the ref said it was a near fall, or that there was a pin break.
The match just continues, until Roode gets a pin that somehow counts this time. They celebrate outside the ring as if they’d just won the lottery and I’m left scratching my head.
-Now it’s time for Kurt to talk, like he hasn’t done enough of that already. He calls Jeff Jarrett out, and of course Jarrett answers. Long story short, Jarrett dodged Angle and Abyss, I guess still groggy outside the ring this entire time, gave Angle the worst Black Hole Slam of all time. With that out of the way I’d like to take a break talk about the actual production of the show.
-There’s so much to take in it’s hard to pick something to mock. First off, the addition of showgirls to the entrance. It’s akin to the original NWA/TNA shows where cage dancers would gyrate pointlessly in the far corners of the arena. Except this showgirls did nothing, they we merely decoration.
I bet if TNA hadn’t shelled the money out for they’re services, they could have booked a bigger room. I’m sorry, but I have to go back to that room. All sarcasm aside, this arena is a joke. It looks like they made up a nearby studio to look like the Hard Rock Hotel instead of broadcasting live from the real thing. The crowd was also laughably small. Even the Impact Zone seemed like the Staples Center in comparison.
You can say this though, it was standing room only, but that was only due to lack of seating. Two hours in a cramped conference room with no chairs. No wonder the tickets are free.
I have to also comment on the new titration videos, as along with the opening package, they were part of TNA’s big celebration of hiring a semi competent graphics department. While most looked a lot better than the *Quick Action Shot* *Name* *Action Shot* *Name* titrations we’ve been seeing in TNA lately, it was really annoying that EVERYONE had their own symbol, and a lot didn’t look right.
One more major gripe is that when Jeff Jarrett came out, his name was on the screen in big letters using a similar font to Guitar Hero.
Get it? Jeff Jarrett? Guitar Hero? Ahahahaha….ha..haha..
-Okay, finally, the show is about to come to an end. The main event was forgettable yet insignificant. Basically, it sucked, and had a stupid finish. Nash and Sting beat Joe and AJ by DQ, and then the rest of the Mafia comes in to pick the bones. I don’t think it’s coincidence that three out of the four members of this group were in the nWo at one point or another.
So, we skip ahead to the big announcement of the night. Mick comes out and tells the world that he’s rich. Great, more ego, right? No, actually Mick then says that he’s the cheapest man in wrestling, and he hasn’t spent a lot of those millions. So, he says that Jeff Jarrett asked him to make an investment.
Anyone with half a mind knows what’s coming next, but apparently Angle doesn’t have even that, and storms out to the ring with the rest of the New World Mafia. He tells Foley to get out of the ring and stop talking about the stock tips he got from Jarrett. Angle then head butts Foley, and Foley starts laughing. He says that Kurt has just head butted his new boss. Mick Foley bought TNA. Hope he kept the receipt…
TNA is to the wrestling media as Uwe Boll is to the movies. It’s loads of fun to make fun of every little thing they do, but the stark truth is that most of what people say is the honest to god truth.
While the show might not has been the abomination to wrestling I was making it out to be, there is no denying that this show was awful. Everything, from the production, to the storylines, to the rigged waste of your money, to the promises that didn’t live up to any expectations especially their own hype.
What was a chance to peak my interest only convinced me to never watch TNA again. I’m sure that a lot of people worked hard on this show, but it wasn’t enough. This was worse than RAW, worse than any other TNA show I’d seen.
In closing, I’d like to say something to all the people that talk about how TNA is miles head of WWE and will take them over in no time. Stop living in your fantasy world. TNA has pulled an unchanging 0.9-1.1 rating for all of four years. Rating are not getting better.
The fans that tuned in when the show was one hour on Saturdays in late night are the same ones that tune in for two hours on Thursday primetime. Nothing has changed. TNA can barely match ECW’s ratings, and if Heat was still on TV you know that they’d beat Impact, too.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that TNA isn’t the alternative is claims to be, but rather a watered down WWE. That is also not true. TNA is WCW, the only difference is that WCW didn’t have Kurt Angle.